Tracking Your Kid’s Cellphone? Their Location Can Be Faked - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Tracking Your Kid’s Cellphone? Their Location Can Be Faked

Experts say it's easy to fake your location to not only hide where you really are, but also make it seem like you're somewhere you're not

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    Tracking Your Kid's Cell Phone? Their Location Can Be Faked

    Many parents use GPS apps to track their children. But few parents know what many teenagers do - that their GPS location can secretly be faked. (Published Monday, May 6, 2019)

    Many parents use GPS apps to track their children. But few parents know what many teenagers do – that their GPS location can secretly be faked.

    It's called "GPS spoofing."

    "Almost all my friends, their parents track them," said Abi Ezmerlian, 18, a Fort Worth high school senior.

    Her mother can know her location with a few taps on her cellphone.

    "I just don't have to worry," Debbie Ezmerlian said. "The other thing I don't have to do is text her, 'Where are you?'"

    The teenager has no problem with it.

    "I feel a peace of mind in it, I feel safe, that if something does happen, I do feel safe, because she will find me," Abi Ezmerlian said.

    Some children are finding ways to fool their parents by tricking the GPS. We're not going to give any lessons on how to do it.

    But experts say it's easy to fake your location to not only hide where you really are, but also make it seem like you're somewhere you're not.

    "I certainly see that it's possible. It's eye-opening and it's a bit frightening," said technology expert James Bier.

    Bier, a father of two teens himself, runs a technology staffing company in Richardson, Texas.

    "It's that simple," he said. "It can literally implant you in another state or country. With the technology, with the app development that's out there today, it's nearly undetectable."

    Bier said a parent checking on their teen's location has no way to know whether it is accurate.

    "You never know," he said.

    For Abi's mother, just knowing the technology exists is a concern, even though she said she has total trust in her.

    "I mean it's surprising, it really is," Debbie Ezmerlian said.

    Bier also said it's a concern.

    "As a parent myself, I trust my kids," he said. "I sure hope that trust never gets broken."